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Delegation Skills and the 4-Step Process

Delegation Skills and the 4-Step Process
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Delegation Skills and the 4-Step Pro...

“Delegation” may not be a major topic, but if a company doesn’t proactively encourage managers to delegate their tasks, the company’s growth would become slow. This article will explain delegation principles, skills and the 4-Step process.

(Duration: 6:36)

Huge effects of Delegation

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

The other day, one of my friends told me that his boss gives him orders but doesn’t explain the task’s whole picture. This is sad because the boss’s workload will not be reduced, and it prevents my friend’s growth.

However, if she trained him for that entire task and let him do the job all by himself, he would be more motivated, have more experience and be able to do more work. That boss would also be able to concentrate on other important tasks. She could be appreciated and more respected.

As a company, delegation can raise the morale of the entire company, increase the number of employees with more skills, and then the total amount of work done will increase dramatically.

In my company, all employees who get a manager’s position always receive training about delegation as an essential skill for managers.

Why is it difficult to delegate? And what’s the solution?

For new managers especially, delegation is quite difficult at the beginning. Let’s talk about the problems and solutions here.

Why is it difficult to delegate

“Which task should I delegate to who?” I’ll show how to do it step-by-step later, but the short answer is “If there are appropriate people, all routine tasks should be delegated”. Also, you can delegate appropriate projects too.

Next is “Can’t I do the tasks quicker and better by myself?” This is somewhat true, but The litmus test of becoming a good manager is whether you can overcome this thinking or not. If you cannot do this, you cannot grow.

The next question is, “If I delegate my tasks, won’t I lose my job?” Essentially, the number of people you raised is the evaluation of a manager. When your people who you delegated to became capable people, it’s to your credit. If a company doesn’t understand that, it will be difficult for the company to grow.

What you can do for yourself is “Grow yourself, so you can take over your boss’s task”, when your direct report has taken over your work.

The Principle of Delegation

Don’t expect perfection at the beginning after delegation

If you don’t delegate, you have to do the work yourself, so neither you nor your direct reports will grow.

After delegating, your direct reports may not be able to work as well as you do right away.  Instead of thinking “Yeah, I must do this myself”, it’s better to think this way: “it’s good they completed 60% well”. That way, they can also feel less pressure and work on their new tasks well.

And when they did a good job, praise them so that they can realize their growth.

Accountability remains with me even after delegation

There is one thing you should not misunderstand, which is that you still retain accountability after delegation. Even if they failed, you cannot blame them. If you did that, you would prove that you have no management skills.

Especially just after delegating, give maximum attention and support to them. If they made a mistake, please have generosity and take responsibility.

The bosses who can say “Even if you made a mistake, I’ll take responsibility, so challenge this job” will be respected.

4 Steps of Delegation

Next, let’s look at the 4 steps of delegation.

The 4 Steps of Delegation 1

Step 1: Prepare tasks to delegate.

Not all tasks can be delegated. It’s not right to delegate some task because you don’t like that task. Instead, choose tasks that motivate and grow employees.

Step 2: Find appropriate people and prepare them for delegation

Once you’ve identified the tasks to be delegated, consider who you can delegate each task to. Even if you can’t delegate to them now, consider it for the future.

Identify what kinds of skills each candidate is missing and give them an opportunity to gain them. It may be a good idea to tell them your intentions.

It’s also a problem if you always delegate tasks to the same person. Conversely, it’s good if you delegate the same task to different people in turn as cross-training.

The 4 Steps of Delegation 2

Step 3: Hand over the task with appropriate instructions.

After the candidates have reached the appropriate level, give them a training for the delegation. At that time, it’s important to tell them the purpose of the task and the final work result expected.

Then, tell the beginning and end of the workflow, and any important milestones along the way. If it’s not a difficult task, just explain and delegate without fear of failure.

The 4 Steps of Delegation 3

Step 4: Give appropriate support and reduce obligation and frequency of reporting.

Just after the delegation, you may ask the person to report or get approval before going on to the next step. However, as their work gets better, please reduce the frequency of their reporting and increase their authority. To delegate the task completely is the goal.

Again, delegation is an essential skill for managers. But it’s not easy, so it’s important to be prepared to do it. On the contrary, if you can do that, you, your people and your company can grow greatly.

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